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Power Outage Safety and Solar

Power Outage Safety and Solar

We know the drill: it’s the middle of a shift, and a storm rolls through the area causing disruptions in the power grid known as brown or black outs. Workplace safety regulations require emergency lighting for some industries, while others rely on flashlights. If you’re lucky, your office or plant may have invested in a generator to keep some of the essentials like AC and overhead lighting working. However, knowing what happens during a power outage when a building’s electricity needs are augmented by solar panels isn’t common knowledge. Here’s what you need to know:

Solar Systems and Going ‘Off the Grid’

The most important factor to understand is that not all solar systems can generate power independently off the grid. When a business or private home is outfitted with solar technology, there are two options the owner can take: 1.) Install a solar system connected to the power grid, which produces some of the energy controlled and dispersed by the local utility, or 2.) Outfit the building with an ‘off the grid’ system independent of the local utility, that requires battery backups and more complex (and expensive) components.

Being connected to the grid means that the renewable energy your solar panels produce is still subject to the overall functionality of the grid. Regulations mandate that grid-connected solar systems be automatically turned off during an outage to protect electrical repair teams. Even if your solar panels could continue to generate power during an outage, rigging the system would potentially risk the lives of utility workers and be in violation of legal code.

Why Grid-Connected Solar Systems are Still More Cost-Effective

The solar systems the rely on a connection to the power grid are less expensive and pay for themselves at a much faster rate than pricier and more complex off-the-grid systems. Installing a solar solution means essentially paying for one’s electrical needs upfront instead of over time. With the solar power systems provided by SunPeak, our customers end up paying about 3 cents per kWh, while those utilizing traditional sources pay between 10 to 12 cents per kWh. The cost of energy per kWh for off-the-grid systems robust enough to handle the needs of large-scale operations isn’t worth the investment.

It’s simply not financially feasible for the majority of businesses to invest in off-the-grid solar solutions, which is why SunPeak focuses our expertise on grid-connected systems. One of our corporate goals is to make solar power accessible for the Midwest region, and that means working with the most cost-effective technology. If you’re still concerned about your business being able to continue generating power during an outage, we suggest investing in a generator rather than leveraging solar as a means of going off the grid.

For more information on solar power in the Midwest, and what to expect during disruptions in the power grid, contact one of our solar systems experts through our Contact page.

 

844-NO-CARBON  •  844.662.2726 (toll free)  •  608.535.4554 (local)
440 Science Drive, Madison, WI 53711
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